Vandals tag numerous signs, posts in Bartram Springs area

Elementary students exposed to curse words, offensive symbols on way to school

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Residents in the Bartram Springs area in southern Duval County woke up Monday to an unwanted and ugly sight: graffiti on signs, posts, sidewalks and crosswalks all around.

Someone even painted on Bartram Springs Elementary School's sign and light posts.

Parents of students at the school said they're upset about what their young children had to see on their way to school. Apparently overnight, someone went by and tagged a number of signs with spray paint.

Most of the graffiti had been washed off or painted over by Monday afternoon, but those who saw it in the morning said they saw swastikas, references to the devil, such as like 666, four-letter curse words, phallic symbols, and a sign that read, "You will die young."

These are all things parents say their children should not have to see when they're riding to school.

"It's very sad, especially in this community," said Wendi Lehman, the mother of a 6-year-old. "We feel like it's a very warm, family-safe community, and then to see this is very startling."

The school's principal, Caroline Wells, said she's disappointed and a little frustrated, but she said everything was getting cleaned up and it was business as usual for students Monday.

"The good news in all of this is we had a community member come by and already begin the cleanup," Wells said. "And most of the obscene, bad words were taken down very quickly this morning."

Police are trying to find out who is responsible for all the graffiti. Anyone with any information about the vandalism is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. Callers can remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a cash reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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